Call for Contributions: The Crusades and the Far-Right in the 21st Century

11 July 2019

The crusades refuse to remain in the past. In recent decades, elements of crusading rhetoric, iconography and historiography have been pressed into service by far-right, nationalist and related groups – sometimes with tragic consequences. From the shield-carrying white supremacists of Charlottesville to ‘Templar knight’ and mass-murderer Anders Breivik, self-styled ‘crusaders’ have often used a warped vision of the past as justification for antisocial or violent action in the present.As nationalist and far-right ideologies spread across Europe and the Americas, and as the academy engages in a welcome debate over how the crusades are taught, understanding how ideologues have misused our crusading past for their own ends is more important than ever. The aim of this volume therefore is to provide a timely exploration of this issue that crosses geographical and disciplinary boundaries.

The proposed volume edited by Charlotte Gauthier will be part of the Routledge Engaging the Crusades series, edited by Jonathan Phillips, Professor of the History of the Crusades at Royal Holloway, University of London, and Dr Mike Horswell, author of The Rise and Fall of British Crusader Medievalism, c. 1825-1945 (Routledge, 2018). It seeks to offer insight into the ways in which the crusades have been used in the last two centuries; demonstrating that the memory of the crusades is an important and emerging subject.

Proposals for articles of 6-8,000 words on any subject related to the appropriation of the crusades (e.g., crusader imagery, rhetoric, historical figures) by far-right, nationalist, white supremacist and associated individuals and groups in the 21st century are welcome. Pieces exploring appropriations of the crusades by individuals and groups outside the US/UK, and those taking a comparative or interdisciplinary approach are especially sought.

Potential topics include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • ‘Meme culture’ and the use of crusading imagery/rhetoric online
  • Invocations of the crusades by 21st-century political figures
  • Crusading conspiracy theories
  • The ‘modern military orders’
  • Crusading rhetoric/imagery as recruitment propaganda
  • Alternative/distorted histories of crusading
  • Modern crusader nationalism
  • ‘Crusade’ as justification for xenophobia, antisemitism or Islamophobia

Please submit an abstract of 200-300-words and a brief biography to Charlotte Gauthier (charlotte.gauthier.2017@live.rhul.ac.uk) by 15 July 2019. Inquiries are welcome at the same email address. First article drafts will be due by 15 October 2019, with an anticipated publication in spring 2020 (subject to commissioning by Routledge).

For more on the Engaging the Crusades series, see: https://www.routledge.com/Engaging-the-Crusades/book-series/ETC